British Columbia, the most western province of Canada, started the process of phasing out its mink fur industry, which will culminate with the cease of all operations, including the sale of pelts, by 2025. The first stage of this plan will be permanently banning the breeding of mink in farms, followed by closing all live mink farms by April 2023.
The main reason for this is COVID-19. Mink can get infected and spread the virus to humans. Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries said: “There’s concern that there’s increased risk due to ongoing persistence of infected mink, which indicate the higher potential for mink being a reservoir for the virus than was previously assessed.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, a provincial health officer, said: “Public health has been monitoring and managing outbreaks related to mink farming along with the Ministry of Agriculture and WorkSafeBC, but as this remains an ongoing public health issue, we believe the risk is too great for operations to continue as they were.”
This is another nail in the coffin on this cruel industry that has been depleted all over the world. France, the Netherlands, and Hungary have announced similar bans. Estonia passed a law to ban fur farming by 2026. The Irish government recently announced it was moving ahead with its ban on fur farms. And on June 2021, Israel became the first nation to ban the trade of fur in the fashion industry.
The BC government will help the fur operators transition to new jobs. The farmers will also be eligible for benefits through existing government-funded income-protection programs. All the mink, though, will, unfortunately, be killed. There are about 318,000 minks on the farms run by nine operators, and the skins of many of them will still be used for pelts.
This sort of news is always bittersweet. Any ban on fur farming is to be welcomed, as it means a considerable step toward abolishing obstacles in our way to the vegan world. But thousands of innocent sentient beings will be brutally executed to implement such a ban, and although they would have been killed anyway, their impending deaths are not a reason for rejoicing. They are the sad victims of factory farming. But they are also the victims of the pandemic which sealed their fate. Disease brought to them by humans after messing up with Nature in one way or another.